Have you considered a career as a professional truck driver? Did you know there are jobs for professional truckers that go unfilled every year? The trucking profession still has career opportunities for young job seekers.
If you’re a Millennial, you were born after 1980, and you may have different career expectations from previous generations. Would it surprise you to learn that trucking can be a positive experience and a step forward on your blue-collar career path?
The Millennial generation has now become the dominant demographic segment of the workforce. Meanwhile, the forecast for employment is for turbulence in the coming decades. If you decide to become a trucker in the next few years, you’ll be in a better than average position to ride the employment wave.
Millennials and the Future of Work
The trucking industry needs drivers, and if you’re a young person, you’ll still be able to find well-paying jobs as a trucker in the next few years. In the near future, you’re likely to face drastic career changes regardless of your job description. Why not train for employment that leads to future opportunities?
The transportation industry has a wide variety of jobs for workers who hold commercial drivers licenses (CLDs). Driving eighteen-wheelers across the continent is still an option, but many trucking jobs stay closer to home.
Change is Coming for Everyone Looking for Work
There once was a mythical time, when workers left high school, joined a company and stayed for all their adult lives. One thing’s for sure: Work’s not like that anymore. If you’re starting out on your journey of work in the twenty-first century, you’ll probably have several different careers throughout your life.
For unskilled workers, rapid changes and innovations will mean going from one service job to another, and possibly extended periods of unemployment in between. When you have even a few months of experience as a commercial driver, you’ll have a platform from which you can launch into other, more prosperous careers in the industrial world of the future.
Why Trucking is a Viable Career Option
The trucking business offers a luxury that other industries don’t have; drivers are in demand. In fact, there’s still a shortage of qualified CDL holders across North America. Employers have to compete to hire experienced truckers, and they’re crying out for new drivers. The trucker shortage is driving the investment in automation, but it’s also the reason that you can start a career in trucking now.
Experienced drivers can cross-train into technical fields such as maintenance and manufacturing. For ambitious Millennials who want to lead people and make decisions, there will be opportunities to advance into management careers.
Advantages of Truckers with CDL
The demand for drivers means that many of the large trucking companies pay for candidates to train for their CDLs. The transportation industry is subsidizing new drivers right now. The threat of replacement by self-driving trucks is still just an idea.
Your priority as a newly licensed trucker will be to gain experience on the road so that you can apply for advanced, better-paying CDL jobs. Experience will bring you a rising income and multiple paths beyond driving that can lead to real prosperity.
Companies in logistics, supply chain distribution, and industries that spread across the continent, often hire people with CDL experience for good, non-driving jobs. These companies understand that truckers with a few years on the road are responsible people who have the maturity to succeed in any workplace.
Truckers Face Automation Eventually
You may have heard in the media that self-driving trucks are taking over. While the research is moving ahead and the potential threat to jobs is real, it’s going to take time. The first jobs that get automated will be the long-haul positions that employers struggle to fill.
Traditional OTR teams consist of pairs of drivers, who take turns behind the wheel so they can drive day and night. Teams are likely to be replaced by single drivers who relax in sleeper cabs on the open road.
These lone truckers will only take the wheel on city streets as they leave and approach the depots. Other driving jobs that involve delivery routes and congested urban traffic will be around longer.
Get Your CDL and Open Your Horizons
The first step to a trucking career is to investigate the possibilities in your region. Once you decide to commit to trucking, get all of the background work such as the physical examination out of the way. Request a copy of your driving record from your state’s DMV. Next, apply for a trucking job that trains in-house or sponsors tuition.
When you earn your CDL, you’re going to have truck driving job options. No company has started replacing jobs with robot drivers just yet. Even when the first fully automated trucks roll out, the driver-shortage will absorb the impact in the first few years.
After the first fleets commit to the substantial cost of robotic trucks, any time a self-driving truck crashes it’ll be national news. When accidents happen, whole fleets of self-driving cargo vehicles are likely to be grounded, awaiting investigative conclusions, service recalls, and software updates; any setbacks could add years to rollout timetables.
Truck Driver Salaries
How much a trucker makes reflect the demand for CDL holders.
The industry calculates truck driver salaries based on experience. It’s the hours behind the wheel and miles you drive that count in trucking. The conventional way to calculate pay in the industry is cent per mile or CPM. The more experience you have, the higher the rate employers will offer you.
Federal rules limit the hours you can drive and dictate mandatory rest periods. So, there is a cap CPM, but trucking companies pay for other things too.
Due to the demand for good drivers, trucking fleet operators provide bonuses for such things as performance, recruiting referrals, and, of course, subsidized training.
Join a Profession that Opens Doors
Trucking is not for everyone. Long hours on the road and isolated, ever-changing workdays appeal to some people and not others. However, many different freight companies are still hungry to hire new drivers and subsidize their training.
Just remember that the world is changing fast. Workers these days are likely to have many short-term positions. The most successful Millennials will be proactive, continually seeking to advance their careers.
As a Millennial about to enter the job market, a truck-driving career can still give you a well-paid blue-collar job in just a few years of experience. Whether you find that you love trucking or not, there are plenty of job options. Earning your CDL is a strategic move that will open up immediate employment opportunities and prepare you for an ever-changing future of work.
Geoff is a freelance writer with 20+ years of experience in driving trucks and buses, dispatching, supervising, and training commercial driving teams. His expertise is writing topics on the transportation and trucking industry, and information technology trends.